UN Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
We have supported the UN Global Compact principles of sustainability since 2015. We have mapped our strategy against the SDGs and will continue to integrate the goals that are most relevant to our business and processes.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the seventeen SDGs, which are an urgent call for action by all countries, developed and developing, in a global partnership. They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. The UK is a signatory to these goals. The UK Government has developed its own agenda for delivering these goals and companies are encouraged to adopt this framework.
We believe the foundation of a strong sustainability strategy is a clear understanding of the most important, or material, issues to our business and stakeholders. This understanding can only be fully achieved through detailed research and open engagement with our stakeholders.
Historically we have identified three main areas:
Environment: Our greatest potential environmental impact is from the operation and refurbishment of our portfolio of c.600 buildings. Through the re-use and careful management of existing buildings we can improve their energy efficiency whilst minimising the materials and carbon emissions associated with redevelopment. Improving the operational efficiency of our buildings makes them more attractive to tenants, as well as helping to meet our long-term low carbon aspirations and reducing the risks associated with climate change.
Community: We are focused on activities that directly benefit young people and our local communities in Camden and Westminster. We utilise the expertise of local charities to support educational initiatives and vulnerable people in our local communities.
Stakeholders: engaging with our tenants, investors and principal advisors ensures that we are aware of their expectations and can respond accordingly. We work with tenants to identify ways in which they can operate in a more sustainable manner.
To update and challenge our thinking, in 2021 we embarked on a detailed research project alongside our key stakeholders to reconsider our most material issues. This project was an update to our last materiality assessment undertaken in 2016, and reviewed and updated in 2018, where we identified Climate Change, Community and Health & Safety as our most material issues.
In partnership with a specialist consultant, we undertook a detailed analysis of current ESG trends, legislation and issues affecting our industry and local community. Through this process we identified 27 topics which were then reviewed and prioritised by 88 of our stakeholders using a combination of surveys and interviews. 54 of the stakeholders were external, representing a diverse range of people including our local community, tenants, industry bodies and investors.
The process used a set of tailored criteria to consider each topic in terms of its importance to stakeholders, its impact on Shaftesbury and the level of influence that we can have. The outcomes of the research were then considered by Shaftesbury’s Sustainability Committee and used to develop our materiality matrix, shown below.
The materiality analysis has confirmed the validity of our historic focus areas and many areas of our sustainability strategy. If has reinforced the importance of protecting and refurbishing our buildings, whilst ensuring that our business addresses the challenges of climate change.
However, we have also recognised that there are some key areas in which we should increase our focus going forward, such as net zero carbon and community engagement. These finding will be used to refresh our sustainability strategy.
Sustainability management system
We have a bespoke environmental management system which is supplemented a clear approach to social and economic sustainability. Our management system includes the core elements of a policy, identification of risks and opportunities, measurable objectives and targets, an audit programme and reporting requirements. Our process ensures continual improvement of our policies and an annual re-assessment of targets.
Communications and coordination
Our Sustainability Committee, chaired by the Chief Executive, meets at least quarterly and is responsible for setting the sustainability strategy, managing sustainability related risks and disseminating policy across the Group. The Committee also includes the Head of Sustainability, Community Engagement Manager and senior managers from across the business including; property, facilities management, finance and marketing.
The Committee is advised by an external consultant, who provides independent review and analysis of our actions and policies. The Sustainability Committee reports to the Strategy and Operations Executive, Risk Committee and the Board. The lines of communication and reporting are illustrated below.
Managing the Supply Chain
As a property investor, our most significant impacts occur through our supply chain and in the operation of the buildings that we own. This includes the ongoing management of our portfolio and the refurbishment of individual buildings. Without responsible management, we could inadvertently contribute to significant environmental impacts, such as the unnecessary use of energy and materials, environmental or social damage relating to the extraction of raw materials or environmental incidents at one of our projects.
We employ agents to manage the portfolio and project managers to oversee the refurbishment activities, working to clear policies and targets set by the business. The company has established processes to integrate environment, social and governance factors into the procurement of new services and into the ongoing work of our long-term contractors and sub-contractors. This process is set out below.
Details of our sustainability requirements are contained within our Sustainability Policy and our Supplier Code of Conduct documents. These are included within contractual information throughout the supply chain.